Linux Commands Examples

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number lines of files


nl [OPTION]... [FILE]...

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nc 23


Write each FILE to standard output, with line numbers added. With no FILE, or when FILE is -, read standard input.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.
, --body-numbering=STYLE

use STYLE for numbering body lines

-d, --section-delimiter=CC

use CC for separating logical pages

-f, --footer-numbering=STYLE

use STYLE for numbering footer lines

-h, --header-numbering=STYLE

use STYLE for numbering header lines

-i, --line-increment=NUMBER

line number increment at each line

-l, --join-blank-lines=NUMBER

group of NUMBER empty lines counted as one

-n, --number-format=FORMAT

insert line numbers according to FORMAT

-p, --no-renumber

do not reset line numbers at logical pages

-s, --number-separator=STRING

add STRING after (possible) line number

-v, --starting-line-number=NUMBER

first line number on each logical page

-w, --number-width=NUMBER

use NUMBER columns for line numbers


display this help and exit


output version information and exit

By default, selects -v1 -i1 -l1 -sTAB -w6 -nrn -hn -bt -fn. CC are two delimiter characters for separating logical pages, a missing second character implies :. Type \\ for \. STYLE is one of:


number all lines


number only nonempty lines


number no lines


number only lines that contain a match for the basic regular expression, BRE

FORMAT is one of:


left justified, no leading zeros


right justified, no leading zeros


right justified, leading zeros


Copyright © 2012 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <>.
This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

reporting bugs

Report nl bugs to bug-coreutils[:at:]gnu[:dot:]org
GNU coreutils home page: <>
General help using GNU software: <>
Report nl translation bugs to <>

see also

The full documentation for nl is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and nl programs are properly installed at your site, the command

info coreutils 'nl invocation'

should give you access to the complete manual.


Written by Scott Bartram and David MacKenzie.

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